THERE was a day, before the advent of the A-bomb and its more destructive offspring, before smart bombs and nerve gas, before computer technology and war games, when professional soldiers regarded reading history as a useful pastime. Many who have scaled the peaks of the military profession have testified to the utility of studying military history.
Most of these, however, seem to be commanding voices out of the past.
Jay Luvas, Military History: Is It Still Practicable?
The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence believes history is practicable and has created a website through the Office of the Historian to receive written or recorded contributions from all service members, past and present, to tell their NCO story.
“A profession which started more than 200 years ago, has progressed over time,” Dr. Everett Dague, Command Historian, NCOL CoE said. “Today’s NCO knows more, trains more, and has more responsibility than any NCO in history.”
The purpose of the website, he said, is to collect information on the NCO profession over the years, then disseminate the information to the shared experience section of the website as a reliable resource after is has been analyzed and interpreted. Dague added that all contributions are categorized based off the six NCO Common Core competencies: Readiness, Leadership, Training Management, Communications, Operations, and Program Management. The website is an emerging product designed to provide leadership and mentorship, which can help develop, integrate and deliver training readiness throughout the NCO Corps.
“The Office of the Historian supports the NCOL CoE’s mission by collecting, analyzing, developing, interpreting and publishing NCO history,” he said.
“The idea behind this website is that it works for the NCO and works for us as we analyze and synthesize the information,” Dague said. “Through this process we can look at what the experiences have in common, what is unique to one and what is common to all. We are looking to draw out the commonality of the NCO experience and make it a part of the NCO definition.”
Once the information is analyzed it is disseminated into various sections on the shared experience page, it is broken down into four main categories: Courses, NCO Corps Military History, the NCO Profession, and Training. These categories are further broken down into subcategories, which help the service member find exactly what they are looking for.
“The idea is, if a Soldier is assigned to the Basic Leader Course or is going to teach at BLC, they would look in the main category of courses, then the subcategory of BLC. This is where they go and find out what common experience is out there from the NCO perspective,” Dague said. “However, in order to have this base of information we need everyone from corporal through sergeant major to tell us their story.”
Telling that story does not have to be only in written form said Sgt. Maj. Haywood Vines, senior NCO researcher.
“We will accept videos of NCOs telling their story,” Vines said. “We will determine where the recorded video falls when it comes to NCO CC. If you want to write, write. If you want to record your story on how to perform a barracks inspection on your Soldiers, tell us. This will help an NCO who has never performed an inspection and it will give them a place to start. This website is a resource to help the NCOs of the future.” `
The NCO profession provides, he said, is more than a technical understanding due to the recent changes in the professional military education for the NCO Corps.
“We are looking for the everyday life of the NCO,” Vines said. “An NCO can perform great in combat, [that] has been proven. It is the everyday life of taking care of Soldiers the NCOs struggle with. This is what we are interested in. We want our NCOs to use their critical thinking skills because we know some Soldiers will put NCOs in a predicament. How NCOs overcome these challenges is what we want NCOs to share.”
The website is created to help future NCOs learn valuable lessons obtained from experience. The history office is seeking pieces on all aspects of the NCO experience. If you have an experience you think will contribute to the identity, mission, understanding or professional development of your peers, or if you want to contribute to NCO history in general, be a part of history by telling your NCO story and providing leadership and mentorship for the NCOs of the past, present and future.